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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Mitsui to Send Cargo Via Siberia

TOKYO -- Japan's Mitsui is in talks with Russian Railways to launch a trans-Siberian freight service for Japanese car and electronics makers.

Mitsui said Friday that it and Russkaya Troika aimed to sign a contract deal by the end of August and start service in September.

Demand for a regular and punctual railway cargo service is growing as many Japanese auto and machinery makers, such as Toyota and Matsushita Electric Industrial, are starting up operations in European Russia.

Mitsui aims to run container services for these companies connecting the eastern city of Vladivostok and Moscow in 25 days. At present it takes 30 to 40 days to reach St. Petersburg via sea.

Mitsui said it was also looking into services connecting Shanghai with European Russia for Japanese firms. Mitsui already operates a network of warehouses in Moscow and invests in an air cargo service firm working in Russia. The tie-up could provide many other opportunities for Mitsui, which is strengthening its railway facilities in Europe.

Meanwhile, Japanese rail car and system makers like Hitachi, Toshiba and Mitsubishi Electric have approached Japanese and Russian government officials, expressing interest in a high-speed Trans-Siberian Railway, a government official said.

Japanese train makers, which compete against Siemens, are seeking to market their rail cars that run in below-freezing temperatures.